Teague doesn't play like rookie spectator

Game recap: Tennessee 63, Western Kentucky 7

A recap of the game

Tennessee wide receiver Marsalis Teague played like a veteran for most of Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium. But he did have a freshman moment.

"I caught myself in the huddle looking up at the crowd," Teague said. "The next thing I know, I hear (Jonathan) Crompton calling the play."

Teague never lost his focus when the ball was in the air. He had a game-high six catches for 86 yards in Tennessee's 63-7 victory over Western Kentucky in the season opener.

He also had a touchdown reception on a 5-yard pass from Crompton.

"I saw the ball in the air and said, 'Let me get on my horse,' " Teague said. "It was a perfect ball.

"When (Crompton) called the formation, he just gave me that look. So I broke the corner (route) off early and kind of faded to the back of the end zone. And Jonathan made a helluva throw."

That wasn't the only good throw from Crompton, who completed 21 of 28 passes for 233 yards and five touchdowns.

Ten different UT players, including three freshmen, caught passes.

Scary Hit: Freshman running back Bryce Brown thought the worst when he was hit in the open field on a 16-yard run late in the first quarter.

"I thought I had torn my ACL or something," Brown said. "That's the first thing I thought of."

Brown limped off the field but returned a few plays later.

He finished with 104 yards on 11 carries in his first college game. But he wasn't satisfied.

"Every time I carry the ball, I think I should get more yards than I did," he said. "No matter what I do, I always feel I can do better."

Breathing Room: The Vols erased a lot of memories of stagnant offense and took almost all the pressure off the defense with their 63-point outburst after a sluggish start, a welcome sight for a unit that shouldered almost all the load last year.

The defense was clearly thankful for the help, but it also deserved some of the credit.

"That makes us feel very good as a team," safety Eric Berry said. "Especially on defense, because we kind of feel like we helped our offense get to that point - the same way they help us.

"They get us better and we compete every day against those guys and we know what we're in for, we know what other teams are in for, so we just try to help them along the way they help us."

Got Tickets?: UT came close to reaching its season-ticket sales goal for 2009.

The Vols were "very close to 71,000" tickets sold before Saturday's kickoff, according to associate athletic director Chris Fuller.

The 71,000 figure constitutes 97.5 percent of UT's available season tickets. It sold 72,800 season tickets last season.

UT lowered its mandatory contribution to purchase season tickets. That led to a surge in season-ticket purchases in August.

Under 100,000: Attendance was announced at 98,761. It was the first time since stadium expansion in 1996 that UT opened a season at home with a crowd below 100,000.

Coaching Comparison: Lane Kiffin became the 17th UT head coach to win his opening game.

Phillip Fulmer, Kiffin's predecessor, won his first game (1993) against Louisiana Tech, 50-0. Johnny Majors, who preceded Fulmer, lost his first game 27-17 to Cal.

Home Sweet Home: The Vols are 89-18-5 in home openers and have won 15 in row. Their last loss in a home opener was against Florida in 1994.

End Of Skid: The victory was UT's first in an opener since 2006. It lost road openers to UCLA last season and to Cal in 2007.

Bad Wheel: Kiffin said UT pulled senior offensive guard Vladimir Richard after the first two series because of a sore Achilles tendon in his left leg.

Kiffin said Richard could have played more, but UT didn't want to risk further injury.

UT replaced Richard with senior Cory Sullins.

"I felt pretty comfortable out there," said Sullins, who was told last week that he would likely be called on to replace Richard.

Cory Sullins played alongside his twin brother, Cody Sullins, at center.

"I feel like we fit on blocks perfectly," Cody Sullins said. "It feels really comfortable playing next to him."

West Coast Swipe: Kiffin had some fun when asked when was the last time he didn't use a punter in a game.

"Wasn't at Oakland, that's for sure," he said, referring to his short, tumultuous tenure as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284.

Austin Ward and Dave Hooker contributed to this report.

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Comments » 36

UTByrd writes:

Marsalis, you make us West Tennesseans proud. Ya'll keep that MOJO working. Play some Muddy Waters in your iPod.

Barneyvol writes:

Didn't use a punter in a game for sure at Oakland---BWHAA

Pdiddy10 writes:

LISTEN UP: WE NEED TO RECRUIT MICHAEL DYER AND PHILLIP SIMS! WE NEED TO GET THEM! PHILLIP SIMS IS THE PERFECT QB FOR TENNESSEE. #1 QB IN THE NATION! GO VOLS!!!

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Nuke'ese seemed to have a good bit of the jitters today. Fumbling, running backwards, indecision...hope he works it out. GO VOLS@

T4TN writes:

Those freshmen looked good. Glad Laney let'em play. I hope that makes them hungry 4 more!

chaos001 writes:

Paris and Henry County were all talking about MISTER Marsalis Teague today!!! Way to make us proud!!!

DennisVols writes:

None of the freshmen in this game looked like rookies. This staff did exactly what they needed to do in preparing the new recruits on how to play at this level. Looking forward to seeing their growth as the season goes on.
Last year it took the first 3 games to reach 65 total points combined,then another 4 games to reach 74 total points, UT scored 30% of the 2008 total output in points (208) just today.
I know it was JUST WKU. Well last years in games against Wyoming, NIU and UAB the total points scored in those games combined was 55 points. This team would have hung no less than 40 on each of them.
You could see the hunger in the eyes of the players and the coaching staff. Kiffin's remark at half "we should have scored 5 or 6 touchdowns" with a 28-0 lead, watching Monte along the sidelines as fired up as any defensive coach we have ever had. This team is for real and no matter what the record winds up at the end of the season you will never see them quit in a game. They will have the same competitiveness in every game that you saw today. If you fall behind in a game with UT don't expect them to slow down so you can catch up. The Lain Train has left the station and it is moving full speed ahead.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

TNPilgrim writes:

This game showed us what can be done when a good coaching staff works with guys like ours. Not the toughest home opener, but we needed this to build on. Kiffen had them ready to play, and hopefully they will improve as the season progresses. What a pleasant change from the stagnant, mediocre mindset of the last group of UT football coaches.

volnavy4life writes:

in response to Pdiddy10:

LISTEN UP: WE NEED TO RECRUIT MICHAEL DYER AND PHILLIP SIMS! WE NEED TO GET THEM! PHILLIP SIMS IS THE PERFECT QB FOR TENNESSEE. #1 QB IN THE NATION! GO VOLS!!!

Tyler Bray is better...sims is enrolling at bama in Jan

10volunteers98 writes:

I just read on another Vol sight that Bray has commited to Tennessee.He wants to let SD State know before announcing publicly.I sure hope this poster knows what he`s talking about!

Voluvr writes:

With Fulmer the score would have been 28-17. We would have run the clock the whole second half. The 17 they score would be Chavis' gift to them by running the mustang package.

Voluvr writes:

Don't be surprised if Scroggins comes over...especially after today.

10volunteers98 writes:

Scrogg can stay on the pine at USC.We`ll get Bray.He`s better.He beat Sroggins at the California quarter back competitions.Bray has a better arm than Scrogg.

mstanfor#611387 writes:

in response to 10volunteers98:

I just read on another Vol sight that Bray has commited to Tennessee.He wants to let SD State know before announcing publicly.I sure hope this poster knows what he`s talking about!

Link???

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to chaos001:

Paris and Henry County were all talking about MISTER Marsalis Teague today!!! Way to make us proud!!!

He was impressive.

I was a little concerned on D when we didn't use a 18 yd drop on 3rd and 12.

orangepridenation writes:

i'm from henry county high school in paris tennessee and i'm a huge vols fan. i watched marsalis teague demolish opponents as a qb at every home game for the last two years, he's the most celebrated athelete that this town has ever seen. and to hear his name being called for that 5 yard touchdown catch was something special. 6 catches, 86 yards, and a touchdown. on a day in which he made his collegiate debut as true freshman at the university of tennessee is enough to brighten anybody's day, especially when he's from your hometown and is now playing for the team you've rooted for your whole life. good luck marsalis, i know you aint about to read this but you make everybody back here in hc proud. keep doin ya thing and keep it real.

Ironcity writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

He was impressive.

I was a little concerned on D when we didn't use a 18 yd drop on 3rd and 12.

I watched Washington convert a number of third and longs tonight on LSU and thought to myself how much I don't miss Chavis

drwfocus#660070 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

He was impressive.

I was a little concerned on D when we didn't use a 18 yd drop on 3rd and 12.

PD you and Witch-Doctor are about the only reasons I read any commentary on this site. All the freshmen were exceptional and impressive. But ---- I was equally impressed with the upper classmen who FINALLY got a chance to show their abilities.

FDGVOL writes:

impressive.....most impressive but we are not top #10 yet. ESB DV

82cat writes:

One note about Kiffins attention to detail.

kiffin took the team last week to the team hotel for a walk through so they would know exactly how the friday pre game preparation would be handled. This is not a joke he actaully did this.
Say what you want but that is amazing attention to the smallest details

TommyJack writes:

Been watching a long time. Never seen a staff this involved.

doubledown writes:

I hope Marlon Brown watched it from the bench in Stillwater, while GA was getting beat by Okla State.

hufstedler02 writes:

in response to Pdiddy10:

LISTEN UP: WE NEED TO RECRUIT MICHAEL DYER AND PHILLIP SIMS! WE NEED TO GET THEM! PHILLIP SIMS IS THE PERFECT QB FOR TENNESSEE. #1 QB IN THE NATION! GO VOLS!!!

Who are you trying to sell to? It aint up to us. I believe Kiffin will make those decisions just fine on his own. You should just comment on the article. You sound pretty silly. Hey, why don't we all call Coach Kiffin and tell him who he needs to recruit. Pathetic!!! Enjoy the win. Go Vols!!!

givehim6 writes:

in response to volnavy4life:

Tyler Bray is better...sims is enrolling at bama in Jan

Hope all verbal committed Vols, and the ones thinking about it saw the # of freshmen were used. and how CLK and staff turned a broken down tired team and turned it into a well oiled butt kicking team! Do you fill the orange power Bray?

jsm67vol writes:

This staff proved what many of us have thought for years; the previous staff did not develop the talent as well as they should have.
On another note: did anyone watch the lsu vs wash game last night. And did anyone else note the similarities of the wash off (with less talent) to our beloved vols new off. wash had like 387 yds vs lsu D. LSU won due to having a great deal more talent, but wash gave them all they wanted in their season opener. Just a reminder that this off scheme can work well against even tough SEC defenses. It looks as if Sarkisian is using the same blue print to rebuild the huskies as Kiffin is using to build the Vols. Kiffin just has a head start on the talent level already in place. Go Vols!!!

reidtownriverrat writes:

I thought our punting team stunk, do you realize the punter avg 0 yards. Hopefully they never see any game time. Not going to mention the place kicker. TERRIBLE ABSULTE DEBACLE, EPIC FAIL.

2407westTN_VOLSfan writes:

Gone are the days when our punter is the PLAYER OF THE GAME! Good job Coach Kiffin and crew! I'll bet Kiffin and Orgeron will be hungry to get at UCLA since they had a run at them during the USC days! GO VOLS!!!! ORANGE SWARM!!!!

BleedOrangeForever writes:

Any news from Tyler Bray's visit this weekend?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to orangepridenation:

i'm from henry county high school in paris tennessee and i'm a huge vols fan. i watched marsalis teague demolish opponents as a qb at every home game for the last two years, he's the most celebrated athelete that this town has ever seen. and to hear his name being called for that 5 yard touchdown catch was something special. 6 catches, 86 yards, and a touchdown. on a day in which he made his collegiate debut as true freshman at the university of tennessee is enough to brighten anybody's day, especially when he's from your hometown and is now playing for the team you've rooted for your whole life. good luck marsalis, i know you aint about to read this but you make everybody back here in hc proud. keep doin ya thing and keep it real.

My late Dad's ancestral home is in Henry County. I used to love visiting realtives there as a kid. Paris Landing State Park is one of my favorites. Glad to hear the Big Orange flag is still flying proudly there! Thanks for Marsalis!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

My late Dad's ancestral home is in Henry County. I used to love visiting realtives there as a kid. Paris Landing State Park is one of my favorites. Glad to hear the Big Orange flag is still flying proudly there! Thanks for Marsalis!

OOPS! Meant to say "RELATIVES"!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I watched Washington convert a number of third and longs tonight on LSU and thought to myself how much I don't miss Chavis

HA! I thought the same thing! I only watched until halftime, but I think UW was something like 6-out-of-7 on 3d-down conversions.

bobbytodd writes:

The only thing I can say is the last time I saw 63 from UT was in 2008.......all of 2008. I loved to see him let the guys play and bring in guys from the bench and let them play. They practice just as hard and shouldn't have to come in and run the ball into the back of the O-line and fall down to keep from running up the score. Everybody gets better that way. Awesome game.

tenuscvol writes:

off subject just a little.. I really liked he networks "story" on the Sullins boys...those dudes are incredable young men ...good job ABC....

Beat Bama!

GoVols!

ncvol17 writes:

Brown & Oku will be the next Cobb Webb of yrs gone by...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

UCLA.

Period.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to chaos001:

Paris and Henry County were all talking about MISTER Marsalis Teague today!!! Way to make us proud!!!

Native Henry Countians living in Southern Illinois (only 2 hours 15 minutes away without law enforcement violations) are also proud. I stated clearly on signing day that the Vols were getting a special player. Now you all know why Urban was so ticked off around that time...no Marsalis or Nu'Keese in ugly Gator unis.

Go Big Orange, beat UCLA!!

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